Someone hacked the Astros’ “Ground Control” database and got their internal trade discussions

HardballTalk

Hacking anyone or any company’s private communications is underhanded and most likely illegal. People do it all the time, of course, but that doesn’t change it. What also doesn’t change: third parties’ interest in the hacked information, regardless of the legality of the hack. Especially when the hackee is famous or notable.

The Houston Astros are famous and notable and now Deadspin is reporting that their highly-publicized internal communication and evaluation system called “Ground Control” got hacked. Among the stolen data which has been posted online are internal discussions about a possible trade for Giancarlo Stanton last year, the leadup to the Bud Norris trade and discussions between the Astros and Yankees back during spring training in which the Yankees offered Ichiro Suzuki to Houston, largely for cash.

The data comes in the form of notes, not unlike you’d see in a customer service database in which representatives make a note…

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Blue Jays Waste a Strong Start for Stroman, Lose 4-3

Coming into the game Saturday afternoon the odds were the Blue Jays patchwork lineup, featuring the likes of Brad Glen, Darin Mastroianni, Steve Tolleson and Munenori Kawasaki, were going to be severely over matched facing Chicago White Sox staff ace Chris Sale.

With the left handed power bats on the bench and slugger Jose Bautista still shelved with a hamstring issue, it was shaping up to be a frustrating afternoon in front of 39,623 Blue Jays faithful at Rogers Centre.

The only positive was Blue Jays young rookie sensation Marcus Stroman was toeing the rubber for the home team. Having put together an excellent 8 inning, 3 hit, 7K, 1 run effort up against the Yankees in his previous start, there was some hope he could match zeros with the dominant Sale.

Through the first 3 innings this is exactly what happened. Both Sale and Stroman were sharp, shutting down what ever little offense each team could muster. In the fourth inning the Blue Jays finally broke through with a two run Mastroianni home run, his first on the season with the big club.

 

From that point the game moved quite rapidly with both pitchers matching outs, including a sixth inning that took just ten minutes to complete.

Unfortunately that would be the last inning Stroman would complete. After getting two quick outs, Chicago’s Cuban slugger Jose Abreu rifled a double to left-center, which was followed by an unintentional-intentional walk to DH Adam Dunn.

This is where the game took a turn for the bizarre. Toronto manager John Gibbons inexplicably removed Stroman from the game after the Dunn walk. There was of course the standard philosophy of pitch count, however the 96 pitches Stroman tossed this afternoon were very low-stress pitches, he had been on cruise control. Instead of letting the young pitcher work his way through Dayan Viciedo, who he had twice handled easily in previous plate appearances, the move was made to the pen for Dustin McGowan. A move that immediately backfired as Viciedo turned around a first pitch, hanging slider from McGowan and immediately deposited it into the 2nd deck in left field for a 3-2 White Sox lead.

 

The Blue Jays for a second game in a row put up a valiant fight in the ninth inning, scoring a lone run after a Anthony Gose double and Kawasaki single. Their rally managed to get slugger Edward Encarnacion to the plate as the winning run proved fruitless as he grounded a Zach Putnam sinker to short for the final out of the game. A 4-3 loss that could have been very different had Gibbons shown the patience with Stroman in that seventh inning.  Standard convention states we would never actually know how it would have turned out, however leaving the young hurler in to finish what he had started certainly would have removed the “what if” question from the minds of many.

The finals lines for both starting pitchers went as follows:

Chris Sale (W 7-1 2.30): 7 INN, 4H, 2R, 2ER, 5BB, 6K (108-65)

Marcus Stroman (ND):   6.2 INN, 2H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 6K (96-65)

Sunday’s first pitch is at 1:07 with Jose Quintana (4-7 3.69) facing off against Mark Buehrle (10-4 2.52). After letting Saturday afternoons game slip through their fingers the Blue Jays will be looking for a strong effort in order to split the series and maintain their fragile lead in the AL East.

 

Stroman Silences Yankee Bats, Blue Jays Solve Whitley

Blue Jays LogoIn an AL East divisional showdown at Rogers Centre Monday night, Marcus Stroman silenced the bats of the New York Yankees as Toronto’s bats went to work quickly helping them to walk away with an 8-3 victory.

Stroman followed up his weakest effort of his young career, which saw him last only 3 2/3 innings (98 pitches, 3 BB) in Yankee Stadium last week, with the best start of his rookie campaign.  The young hurler went a career high 8 innings, surrendering 3 hits and 1 run, while walking 1 and striking out 8.  The eight innings were Stroman’s longest outing thus far as he totaled 114 pitches, 73 (64%) for strikes.  With the win tonight Stroman is now 4-2 with a 4.25 ERA in 2014.

The offense for the Blue Jays came out swinging in the first two innings compiling 7 runs on 10 hits with the big blow being the Adam Lind 3-run home run in the second frame.  Lind who had been limited to pinch-hitting in the previous series against the Reds, quickly found his stroke going 2-4, with a season high 5 RBI, raising his season average to .343.

Yankees LogoChase Whitley who had shut down the Blue Jays in his last start (5 INN, 5H, 2ER, 2K, BB) had his shortest outing of his career in this week’s series opener.  The rookie lasted only 3.1 innings while surrendering 11 H, 8R, 8ER, 3BB, 2K.  Unlike last week Whitley was unable to stay away from the middle of the strike zone and the Blue Jays lineup made him pay and pay dearly for his mistakes.  Tonight’s loss was the first for Whitley who sees his record fall to 3-1, and his ERA jump from 2.56 to 4.07 on the season.

The win pushes the Jays (43-35) 2.5 games ahead of the Yankees (39-36) in the division and helped them remain 1.5 games up on the Baltimore Orioles (40-35) who won 6-4 over the White Sox at Camden Yards on a walk-off 3R HR by slugger Chris Davis.

The Blue Jays and Yankees will face-off again Tuesday night with lefty Mark Buehrle (10-4 2.32) set to duel Yankees hurler, David Phelps (3-4 3.86) in the second game of the three game set.

Look for the Blue Jays to march out the same line-up on Tuesday as they did tonight with the RHP on the mound.  With Lind and Francisco having to play every day this works out well for the club with Jose Bautista more than likely unavailable while healing from a strained right hamstring.

Remembering Vladimir Guerrero In The Early 2000’s

Tru School Sports

vladguerrero_032814_blogcut

In sports it’s happened many times before where a certain player plays in a city where the team isn’t that good or doesn’t get any media attention. When that superstar talent goes to a team with more exposure and more people begin to find out about him its like discovering treasure. This exactly the case with Vladimir Guerrero in his Montreal Expos days, people say he made his name in Anaheim with the Angels and that he was significantly better but his stats say otherwise. Very few people can remember seeing him let alone witnessing him during his Montreal days but due to the fact that they played in the same division as the then Florida Marlins I had a front row seat to his greatness a few times every season when the Expos came to South Florida.

In the early 2000’s the Marlins were bad so it made it…

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No Sunday Fun Day for the BlueJays: Lawrie, Bautista Injured

 USA TODAY Sports/Rick Osentoski

With the Blue Jays in the midst of a June swoon, the 4-3 loss at the hands of the Cincinnati Reds came with an extra dose of harsh reality on Sunday. The Jays’ young star Brett Lawrie, suffered a broken index finger on his right hand after an inside fast ball from Johnny Cueto struck his hand while attempting to check his swing.  In addition, slugger and American League All-Star votes leader, Jose Bautista left the game with a sore right hamstring aggravated while legging out a bunt attempt.

 

While it appears Lawrie’s injury will require an extended stay on the disabled list, less is known about the prognosis for Bautista who is scheduled for an MRI back in Toronto on Monday. Those results will determine the extent of the injury as well as any corresponding moves to follow from the front office.

For the Blue Jays the loss of both star players could not come at a worse time.  While currently in first place in the AL East they have seen their one time 6 game lead on June 6th slip to 1.5 over both the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles.

Rk Tm W L W-L% GB Strk Home Road last20 last30
1 TOR 42 35 .545 L 2 20-17 22-18 9-11 17-13
2 NYY 39 35 .527 1.5 L 2 17-18 22-17 10-10 15-15
3 BAL 39 35 .527 1.5 W 2 16-17 23-18 13-7 16-14
4 BOS 35 41 .461 6.5 W 1 20-19 15-22 9-11 15-15
5 TBR 31 46 .403 11.0 W 2 18-23 13-23 8-12 12-18
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com.

While it may be difficult sledding the next two weeks or so the return of Colby Rasmus and the hopeful return Adam Lind, if swinging well, will help mitigate the loss of Lawrie and Bautista on the offensive side for the short term.  The larger concern will be the defensive side of the ball.  Lawrie’s absence most likely means the Jays will be forced to play Juan Francisco at third on a regular basis, while serviceable he’s hardly the gold glove caliber of Lawrie; however if he can find his swing from May once again the offensive output may cover up some of the loss in the field.  If Bautista is to miss an extended period the defensive side may not suffer as noticeably in right field as it will more than likely be defensive specialist Anthony Gose being recalled.  But that is just speculation at this point in time.

With it only being June 23rd, it is hardly time to panic in Jays Land; however the injuries will not assist the team in turning around their play as of late. While once sitting at 38-24 after an amazing month of May and early June the Jays have seen their bats and pitching go cold, resulting in a 4-11 record since getting to 14 games over .500 on June 6th.  The silver lining in this current bad stretch if there is one to be had, is quite simply the mediocrity of the AL East this season.  If the team can play .500 baseball over the the next couple of weeks they should still be in position to make a run at the division lead heading to the all-star break.

The Blue Jays open up a nine game home stand on Monday with a crucial three game series against the New York Yankees who swept the Blue Jays last week in New York, followed by the Chicago White Sox for four and the NL Central leading Milwaukee Brewers for a quick two game series.

 

Gavin Floyd Fractures Pitching Elbow In Win Over Nationals

Gavin Floyd was making his 9th start of the season for the Atlanta Braves tonight after missing the entire 2013 season with ulnar collateral ligament surgery.  With family and friends in the crowd, this may have been his best start of the year.  Floyd had kept the Nationals off the board through 6 innings, limiting them to 2 hits and 1 walk with only 64 pitches.  Then disaster struck. Floyd threw a curve ball with his first pitch of the 7th, looked at his elbow and called for the trainers and coaches to come to the mound.  The immediate thought was Floyd may have re-injured the surgically repaired elbow and could be lost for the remainder of the season.

photo; deadspin.com
photo: deadspin.com

When the news broke with the diagnosis of the injury (a fractured olecranon) there was some relief, however it was shortly lived.  Although, Floyd will be heading to Atlanta to visit the teams staff, it would not be surprising if Floyd missed the remainder of this season, or more, due to the unique injury.  Immediate speculation would be unfair, however the last pitcher to have this same injury was Joel Zumaya of the Detroit Tigers.  Zumaya never fully recovered, and his pitching career ultimately came to an end on that fateful evening in 2010.

Here’s a video from the media scrum in the Braves’ locker room following the game (Courtesy of Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Dave O’Brien)

If the injury does ultimately mean Floyd is lost for the remainder of the season, it is likely Alex Wood, who is being stretched out in AAA Gwinnett, will replace him in the rotation.  For the Braves, this would be the third starting pitcher this season (Kris Medlen, Brandon Beachy) to be lost from the rotation.  Luckily the Braves have some depth in the rotation with David Hale and Alex Wood, however that depth is dwindling fast.  If the Braves hope to remain at or near the top of the NL East Division, they will be pinning their hopes on rookie pitchers and journey man, Aaron Harang to hold up the bottom end of an already battered rotation.  If they can steady the ship, I would look for Frank Wren to try to bolster the staff at the July 31st trade deadline; however with several other teams around the league looking for rotation help, the pickings could be slim.

Gavin Floyd’s career numbers:

Year Tm W L ERA GS IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO WHIP H9 HR9 BB9 SO9 SO/W
2004 PHI 2 0 3.49 4 28.1 25 11 11 1 16 0 24 1.447 7.9 0.3 5.1 7.6 1.50
2005 PHI 1 2 10.04 4 26.0 30 31 29 5 16 2 17 1.769 10.4 1.7 5.5 5.9 1.06
2006 PHI 4 3 7.29 11 54.1 70 48 44 14 32 3 34 1.877 11.6 2.3 5.3 5.6 1.06
2007 CHW 1 5 5.27 10 70.0 85 45 41 17 19 0 49 1.486 10.9 2.2 2.4 6.3 2.58
2008 CHW 17 8 3.84 33 206.1 190 107 88 30 70 6 145 1.260 8.3 1.3 3.1 6.3 2.07
2009 CHW 11 11 4.06 30 193.0 178 93 87 21 59 4 163 1.228 8.3 1.0 2.8 7.6 2.76
2010 CHW 10 13 4.08 31 187.1 199 92 85 14 58 4 151 1.372 9.6 0.7 2.8 7.3 2.60
2011 CHW 12 13 4.37 30 193.2 180 97 94 22 45 2 151 1.162 8.4 1.0 2.1 7.0 3.36
2012 CHW 12 11 4.29 29 168.0 166 84 80 22 63 2 144 1.363 8.9 1.2 3.4 7.7 2.29
2013 CHW 0 4 5.18 5 24.1 27 15 14 4 12 1 25 1.603 10.0 1.5 4.4 9.2 2.08
2014 ATL 1 2 2.98 8 48.1 53 23 16 6 12 0 39 1.345 9.9 1.1 2.2 7.3 3.25
11 Yrs 71 72 4.42 195 1199.2 1203 646 589 156 402 24 942 1.338 9.0 1.2 3.0 7.1 2.34
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/20/2014.